Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Laughter, lies and the War

1. Economists should try to make us laugh ...

2. ... after all, "Laughter is the ultimate psychosomatic symptom", says an interesting article here.

3. Why Trump's people lie.

4. Why do we keep mentioning the War? In summary: in England we love to talk about "the War", i.e. that entertaining/depressing/glorious construct we see in war films, 'Allo 'Allo, Fawlty Towers and so on. It's an endlessly charming little topic, full of dastardly Nazis (aka "Germans"), plucky "Brits" and a host of other entertaining characters who go by names such as "French", "Americans" and so on. Unfortunately, we use a set of very similar words to describe a real historical event and real people who live in real countries. That means that sometimes people get confused about whether we're talking about the sort of "German" who might say "vor you, Tommy, ze vor is ofer" or the real sort of German who might say "we would welcome a constructive negotiation about economic policy". You can see how people might get offended. Probably best to be more careful.

5. Don't let's forget the real War either. E.g., Eichmann, very interestingly discussed here (which includes this: "when a Nazi named “Baron von Killinger” is horrified by your brutality, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate whether you may have crossed a line").

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